One of Omaha’s Favorite Quiltress
Born in Lincoln and raised in Omaha, Monica was the 2nd oldest of five children of a single parent family. She helped watch her younger siblings as her mother, Viola Duncan, was working 2-3 jobs. Always the caring older sister, she forged strong bonds with Carl, David, Darin, and Carla. She graduated from Millard High School in 1977 (later to be Millard South), where she met Rick Barry, her future dedicated husband, in Spanish class.
On December 6, 1980 Monica and Rick got married. For their honeymoon, they spent time at Leisure Lake at Rick’s Uncle Bob’s cabin near Fremont, Nebraska. They lived in a small apartment as they started out their new journey. Soon after Monica and Rick welcomed their first child, Shawn Aaron into the world on June 15th, 1981. Less than 2 years later, the young family was blessed with Rina Marie on March 13th, 1983. The 4 of them moved into a small starter home on the outskirts of Millard. Years later as the family grew up, they moved into their now Millard house in a lovely cul-de-sac with even lovelier neighbors.
Throughout their family life they would venture out to several campgrounds across the area. The young family went on a long road trip to California to visit Rick’s family. They also enjoyed trips to Worlds of Fun and Oceans Fun, South Dakota, and Colorado. Once while driving back from Kanas City, they were chased by a terrifying tornado that seemed to follow them along the interstate, finally taking shelter under a bridge!
Monica’s love for crafts started early on in her childhood. Sewing, ceramics, porcelain dolls, beading, cooking, and many other crafts were an outlet for Monica’s creativity and outside the box thinking. She loved to teach others and spent untold hours showing her children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and anyone with an interest the inner workings of the many crafts she loved to do. Monica won several awards and 1st place ribbons for her ceramics and porcelain dolls at fair shows. Her patient and loving nature beamed through while she was teaching others. She also put her skills to use in the community that she lived in. She would often make custom outfits for special need individuals she encountered through her checkout lanes at Bakers where she worked as a cashier. She often saw a need and promptly filled it. In the early 90’s she volunteered to help with Rina’s Girl Scout Troop, eventually Co-leading with Susan Austin as the troop leader and holding meetings in her basement. Her scouts loved her and often loved the projects that Monica taught. One of the favorite projects was the Famous Quillow (a quilt that folded itself into a pillow). This favored project ultimately was a precursor to her dream job.
After a bad car accident in 1993, her and her family’s life changed forever. No longer able to stand for hours at time, she was forced to leave her job of more than 20 years at Baker’s. A major surgery was needed to repair Monica’s back. This was the start of Monica’s lifelong struggle with back pain. Pain that she rarely complained about, but often endured. She frequently pushed through the pain to help others. Only able to work in short bursts, she found her dream job as a quilt instructor at Sew Creative which was perfect for her. She now was a teacher, a teacher of something she loved. This job wasn’t just a job to her, but a calling and combined her love for sewing, teaching, socializing, and creating. This allowed for her to build strong friendships and hone her world class talent to help others.
Monica found out about her stage 4 cancer diagnosis in early 2020. She steeled herself to fight this horrible disease with her family at her side. Monica never lost her positive optimism. She did not want her friends, family, students, and co-workers to know about diagnosis for fear that she would be treated differently. She did not want to be the center of attention. She much preferred to be behind the scenes, helping, and mentoring others.
On October 13th, 2021 God took Monica to heaven. God needed a quilt instructor and he required the best.
• Please bring in a photo of a quilt or project Monica help you create if you can.
• In Honor of Monica, if you can and would like to, please wear Red, Festive Colors, or Uniform
Monica was a mentor to many.
Preceded in death by grandparents; stepfather, Herbert Spaulding.
Survived by husband, Rick Barry; children, Shawn (Nikki) Barry, Rina (Bryan) Addleman; grandchildren, Charlotte, Samantha, Sierra: mother, Viola Spaulding; brothers, Carl (Kathy) Duncan, David (Crystal) Duncan, Darin (Debbie) Duncan; sister, Carla (Ralph) Mossman; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.